A question from a reader: Is it O.K. to submit a self-published book for a query in lieu of the manuscript?
Yes, it’s okay, but I wouldn’t do it. To an author it looks nicer and more polished, but to an agent or editor it looks like something that has been published, edited, and is now in final and perfect form. So if an editor sees something that’s almost publishable, but needs fixing, her mind has already decided that’s not possible (no matter how many times she’s told). Sending a manuscript says to an agent or editor that this is a wonderful book that’s nearly perfect, but the author will still work on revisions to make it absolutely perfect.
I can’t explain exactly why it is, but I’m certainly less enthusiastic about a book coming in bound than I am about a manuscript. I would also suggest you avoid putting your acknowledgments and dedication in your manuscript. Not only is this the signal of a newbie, but it also says that you are discounting any work your future agent and editor might have to do for you.